tv Democracy Now LINKTV December 27, 2012 8:00am-9:00am PST
12/27/12 12/27/12 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is "democracy now!" >> we have come up against a system and police department that enforces the system on the 1%, which relies on these forms of oppression for its ability to function and keep the rich rich, the poor poorer, the people silent and compliant. the occupy movement has called this out for what it is an suffered a violent police repression as a result. >> the fbi vs. occupied. what secret documents reveal the
fbi monitored occupy wall street from its earliest days, treating the non-violent moveennt as a potential terrorism threat. we will speak with mara verheyden-hilliard of the partnership for civil justice. then turmoil inside the two- party. a former house majority leader dick armey is attempting a coup than his own party. he is paid $8 million to leave. all of that and more coming up. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president obama and members of the senate are back in washington today after a short break with just days before the onset of the so-called fiscal cliff. obama and republican leaders remain at a crossroads on reaching a budget deal before the combination of spending cuts and tax hikes kicks in with the new year. on wednesday, treasury secretary timothy geithner told congress the u.s. will reach its federal
borrowing limit on new year's eve, threatening the same default that was narrowly avoided last year. in a letter to lawmakers, geithner vowed to take extraordinary measures to avoid a new default but said any remedies would only be short- term. the u.s. has acknowledged for the first time a carried out a september drone strike that killed 11 people in yemen. the victims were packed into a truck on a desert road in a town of radda when they're struck by a missile. the washington post reports the yemeni government tried to hide u.s. responsibility for the attack by taking credit for carrying it out. the yemeni government also initially claimed only militants were killed in the strike, or forced to withdraw that claim after mourners tried to bring the dead bodies to the gates of the presidential residence. according to the washington post, the attack has devastated the community and militants in surrounding areas have gained more recruits for their fight against the u.s.-backed yemeni government since it occurred. diplomatic cables released by
wikileaks in 2010 show the u.s. and yemen have repeatedly covered up the use of u.s. warplanes to bomb yemen. according to the bureau of investigative journalism, covert u.s. operations have killed up to 171 civilians there including 35 children over the past decade. a top syrian general responsible for preventing military defections has defected himself to syria's opposition brigit major-general abdul al-shallal, the head of syria's military police, crossed into neighboring turkey and a daring break with the regime of syrian president bashar al-assad. in a statement to the news network, he accused the syrian military of turning on the people of syria. >> i am major-general abdul al- shallal, chief of the military police in syria. i declare my defection from the regime's army because of its deviation from its fundamental mission to protect the nation and its transformation to
killing and destruction. >> his departure marks the key setback for the al-assad regime, as he was tasked with preventing defectors and with overseeing the imprisonment of civilian dissidents. egyptian president mohamed morsi has made a renewed call for national dialogue following the enactment of egypt's new constitution. in his first national address since signing the constitution into law, morsi called for unity in the aftermath of egypt's divisive referendum. >> because of this result, in order to build the nation, we must all come to gather, which is why dialogue has become a necessity we cannot do without. we all seek within this framework a dialogue of national unity over issues we face in the future. >> president morsi spoke after egypt's upper house of parliament held its first session following the constitution's passage. egyptian opposition leaders have vowed to continue their protest against morsi, calling the
constitution process unfair and too skewed toward islam is rules. at a news conference, a spokesperson called for a new demonstration january 25, the second anniversary of the egyptian revolution. >> the front reiterate its rejection of occurred formation of the upper house of parliament and the politics of distributing bribes and the spoils of battle and in sincere dialogue that has now been taking place for some time at the presidency, which is a dialogue through submission that lacks the minimum amount of seriousness. in this regard, the front calls on the people in the revolutionary spirit to protest against legitimacy of this constitution and the second anniversary of the great 25th of january revolution and the revolutions capital of tahrir square. >> the u.s. has reached a tentative $1.2 billion deal with south korea for the sale of four
advanced surveillance drones to monitor north korea. critics have voiced fears the sale heightened military tensions in the korea peninsula. new data shows the obama administration has deported more than 400,000 undocumented immigrants in the 2012 fiscal year, the most ever the nation's history. the recent jump comes despite policy shifts in reportedly aimed at reducing deportations of people without criminal convictions. about half of deportees in the past fiscal year were convicted of crimes that included drug offenses and driving under the influence. in an apparent shift friday, the administration announced undocumented people arrested for minor offenses will no longer be targeted for deportation. the latest data follows do -- news the obama administration carried out more than 200,000 deportations of parents with u.s. citizen children all over
about two years. the supreme court has refused to block the requirement in the new federal healthcare law that requires some employers to offer insurance coverage for contraception. on wednesday, supreme court justice and sotomayor rejected a request by oklahoma city billionaire david green for an injunction against the role as the challenges it in court. two companies controlled by green say abiding by the contraception requirement would violate their religious beliefs. the mandate takes effect on january 1. los angeles held an annual gun exchange program earlier than planned on wednesday after moving it up in reaction to the newtown massacre. the program is generally held in may, but the l.a. mayor said he decided to hold it in december in part due to lack of federal oversight of weapons nationwide. >> for eight years the senate has stopped the confirmation of the head of the atf, the
organization that is duty bound to enforce these laws. the nra said last week that we should have more enforcement of our gun laws, yet they have made every effort to block enforcement, every effort to have these gaping loopholes in the law that make it almost impossible to do that. >> gun owners for offered a gift certificate worth up to two murder dollars a local grocery chain in exchange for their weapons. -- were offered up to $200 at a local grocery chain in exchange for the weapons. two down on her said there were moved up by the tragedy in connecticut. >> i always thought they should have something like it anyway. regardless of what happens, too bad we wait for something like that to happen to decide to get rid of the pistols and the guns and rifles. >> too many people get killed with guns, small guns, rifles, handguns or any kind of gun.
i am here to help get rid of the guns i have. >> an york papers drawn controversy for publishing a list of the names and addresses of every single registered gun permit holder in its readership area. westchester county's "the journal news" ran the feature in the aftermath of the newtown school massacre, calling it a public service to inform the public of who may own guns in their community. the map is filled with thousands of dots that to be clicked to display a permit holder's name and address. its publication has set off a debate on privacy of public safety in a country where guns are rampant and legal. an nbc news anchor is under investigation in washington, d.c. after dispelling an ammunition magazine on a weekly show "meet the press." nbc news host david gregory held up the gun cartridges as he interviewed when lapierre. >> here is a magazine for ammunition that carries 30 wallets. isn't it possible that if we got
rid of these, if we replace them and said, which can only have a magazine that carries by bullets or 10 bullets, isn't it just possible that we could reduce the carnage in a situation like newtown? >> i don't believe that will make one additiodifferent. >> he may have violated the law. why lt. governor brian schatz has been tapped to fill the senate seat left vacant by the death of longtime democratic inouye. daniel anywain a inouye's purported choice was colleen. russia's upper chamber of parliament has approved a ban on u.s. citizens adopting russian children. the bill is before president vladimir putin has indicated he will sign it. it is seen as a rich ought to remove after president obama
signed a law denying u.s. visas and bank accounts to russian officials linked to the death of imprisoned whistleblower sergei magnitsky. dakota native americans held a ceremony in minnesota on wednesday to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the largest mass execution in u.s. history. 38 dakota men were hanged simultaneously on december 26, 1862 in front of thousands of onlookers. they were condemned to death for crimes allegedly committed during a brief but bloody war with white settlers and soldiers. the executions were allowed by then president abraham lincoln, despite sparse evidence. the conflict came amidst broken u.s. treaties and desperate conditions that left some dakota starving. after the war nearly 2000 dakota non-combatants were marched to a prison camp where as many as 300 died. some dakota marked wednesday's anniversary with an annual 300- mile horseback ride, ending with
the unveiling of a public memorial in minnesota, at the site of the executions. those are some of the headlines. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. >> this holiday weekend, the new york daily news, your newspaper, certainly honored you. an honor well deserved. there's a two-page spread of 25 years of shaking up with many of the front page stories that you did. and then yesterday, the paper had an editorial titled "new york's hometown columnist." >> that was a real shocker. the editorial board and i have often disagreed on many positions over the years. it was quite a surprise. >> it talks he came to the paper
>> for many viewers, a co-host with you here and at "democracy now!" atwe're not quite at 25, but 17 in february. it has been such an honor. >> it is always been a pleasure working with you here. >> we will have a link to the stories -- one at my favorites in the image of all the front page stories that you did is the picture that was not on the front page, i don't think, but of you in the 1960's at columbia, making headlines along
with a group of other people. that one is in black and white. it is a good one. >> that was a long time ago. >> we will have a link to all of that. >> we begin with a look at newly revealed documents that show the fbi monitored the occupy wall street movement from its earliest days last year. internal government records show occupy was treated as a potential terrorism threat when organizing first began in august of 2011. counter-terrorism agents were used to track occupy activities despite the internal acknowledgement that the movement opposed violent tactics. the monitoring expanded across the country as occupy grew into a national movement, with fbi agents sharing information with businesses, local police agencies, and universities. one fbi memo warned that occupy
could prove to be an outlet through which activists could exploit general government dissatisfaction. although the documents provide no clear evidence of government infiltration, they do suggest the fbi used information from local law-enforcement agencies gathered by someone observing occupy activists on the ground. >> the heavily redacted fbi records were obtained of the partnership for civil justice fund through a freedom of information act request. we invited the fbi to join us on the program and discuss the latest revelations, but they declined. instead, spokesperson paul bresson issued a written statement saying -- for more we're joined by mara verheyden-hilliard, executive director of the partnership for civil justice fund, which obtain the documents showing how the fbi monitored occupy wall street. joining us from washington,
d.c., welcome to "democracy now!" tell us what you found. tell us what you found in these documents. >> the documents, as you stated, show the fbi, the american intelligence agencies, or monitoring and reporting on occupy wall street's before the first tent went up in zuccotti park. the documents show the fbi community -- committee can with the stock exchange in august 2011 about the upcoming occupied demonstrations, about plans for the protests, showing the meaning, communicating with private businesses. it threw out the materials, there's repeated evidence of the fbi and the department of homeland security, american intelligence agencies really working as a private intelligence arms for corp. for wall street, for the banks, for the very entities that people were rising up to protest against.
>> interesting they came out on friday before christmas? >> we certainly thought so. we've been trying to get these documents for more than a year. we filed the original foia demands with municipalities and police departments all around the u.s., and did so in the fall of 2011 when there is evidence of a coordinated crackdown on occupied all around the country. we wanted to get the documents out, to be able to show what the government was doing, and the fbi has stonewalled for a year. we were finally able to get these documents, came to us, as you said, the friday before the holiday weekend. we wanted to get them out to people right away. we assumed the fbi was expecting it would just get buried and we think it is great to get these up and that people around the u.s. be able to see what the fbi is doing. >> what about the issue of actual infiltrators either paid
or sent in by law enforcement or the fbi into the occupied groups? >> the documents are heavily redacted. there is a lot of material on the pages themselves we cannot see. the documents, in terms of the scope of the production, we believe there is a lot more that is being withheld. even when you look at the text, you can see there is much more that must exist. we're filing an appeal to demand and fight for more material to be released. even in the heavily redacted documents, you can see the fbi using at least private entities as a proxy force for what appears to be infiltration. there are documents that show the federal reserve in richmond was reporting to the fbi, working with the capitol police in virginia, and reporting and getting updates on planning meetings and discussions with any occupy movement.
it would appear minimally there were sending undercover is, if not infiltrators come into those meetings. another document shows an fbi meeting with private port security officers and anchorage, alaska in advance of the west coast port action. that document has the private port security person saying they were going with -- attending a planning meeting with the demonstrators and reporting back to the fbi. the fbi said it would put them in touch with someone from the anchorage police department, that that person should take the police department officer with them as well. these documents show the intense coordination both a private businesses, with wall street and banks, and with state police departments and local police departments around the country. >> we will take a break and then goes specifically to several of the documents you got under the freedom of information act. we are talking to mara verheyden-hilliard who is the
>> "i'm tired, i'm tired, i'm tired" by marva whitney. marva whitney, as we turn, died this weekend at the age of 68. we go back right now to mara verheyden-hilliard, executive director of the partnership for civil justice fund the released documents showing how the fbi monitored occupy wall street. i want to turn to one of the documents. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. part of a memo from the at the ipods field office from jacksonville, florida. the document is titled "domain
program management domestic terrorism." is shows the fbi was concerned the occupy movement -- areascument cites certain of concern in central florida where -- you talk about this idea of the lone offender threat? >> i think that is very much botched checking by the fbi. there documents show they did not believe this was a movement that posed a threat of violence. throughout the documents, they're using their counter- terrorism resources and counter- terrorism authorities, defining the movement as domestic terrorism and potentially criminal in nature. the fact is, they also say throughout the documents they know this is a peaceful
movement, that it is organized on the basis of nonviolence. by that logic, you can investigate everyone in every activity in the united states on the ground someone might do something that some time. think about the tea party rallies. the tea party was having rallies all over the u.s. were members come carrying weapons, including events with the president was speaking. but the fbi is turning the attention to this movement. when the reference the locations in florida, i think that is a political analysis, a recognition that this is a movement whose time has come and whether it is in hibernation right now, it is based on an organic reality of the economic situation in the u.s. the fbi is referencing the high level of unemployment, the needs the people have, and a recognition of the dynamic nature of the people of the united states, people all over the world, when it organized and come together. that is the threat we believe
the fbi and department of homeland security are focused on. >> i want to turn to another document from the fbi's new york field office that shows fbi personnel met with representatives of the new york stock exchange on august 19, 2011, to discuss the occupy wall street protests that were set for the following month. the memo describes the meeting saying -- the memo goes on to say -- talk about these meetings between law enforcement and the parties targeted by occupy wall street, mara verheyden-hilliard.
>> again, the documents throughout show they know the movement is nonviolent. the fbi routinely uses reference to anarchists and demonizing anarchists or political ideology as if it is an identical with criminal wita ye. the often -- even where they know there are not acts of violence. we know how frequent the police themselves and will trade demonstrations opposing themselves as the anarchist's they always say they're worried about. those documents show the fbi working with private industry, with the banks -- they are not bringing evidence of real threats of violence, they're talking about political uprising. i think we can be sure that if they had evidence of criminal activity, they would not have redacted it. they would have been happy to produce it.
they don't have it. over and over you have the fbi, the department of homeland security basically conducting themselves in a form of police state is of in the u.s. against the people of the united states. >> what about the historical precedents here, the history of the fbi's involvement in monitoring, surveiling, and sometimes disrupting peaceful dissident activity in the united states? >> exactly. this is just part and parcel of a long history of the fbi. this is not the first incident. it is not going to be the last. it is not the worst, to be honest. we all know that. the fbi has a long history, mass surveillance of targeting people based on political ideology, efforts to disrupt the movements for social justice, efforts to shut down black liberation movement, the anti-war movement from the 1960's, 1970's.
in the 1970's, there were great revelations of these abuses of the security agencies. there were church committee hearings, supposedly protections put in place. but we can see decade after decade, with each social justice movement, the fbi conducts itself in the same roll over and over again, which is to act really as the secret police of the establishment against the people. >> a document from october 2011 indicates law enforcement from the federal reserve in richmond, virginia was giving the fbi information about occupy wall street. it says the federal reserve source contacted the fbi to - "pass on information regarding the movement known as occupy wall street." interestingly, the memo also notes that occupy wall street --
describes repeated communications to -- "pass on updates of the events and decisions made during the small rallies." >> that document is 10 indicate the fbi was minimalal using private entities or local police departments as proxy forces for infiltration for undercover operations to monitor, server out, and collect information. that document also showed the breath of the reporting. yet individuals on the ground, the federal reserve bank of the state police agencies apparently monitoring, collecting information on the planning discussion of protests in richmond, reporting to the fbi and reporting them also to state fusion centers and other intelligence and domestic terrorism data centers. the data warehousing in the united states, the mass collection of data on the people in the u.s., is of great concern. you can see the fbi is
collecting a lot of information on completely lawful activity, and people who are not planning criminal acts, who are actually engaged in cherished, first amendment-protected activities. yet it is being collected under domestic terrorism or criminal activity and being entered into these mass databases, which have a huge level of dissemination and access and are virtually unregulated. >> thank you very much, mara verheyden-hilliard, for joining us, executive director of the partnership for civil justice fund which released the documents showing how the fbi monitored occupy wall street. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. we move on to our next segment. >> a federal judge has refused to recuse herself from a closely watched trial of jailed computer hacker jeremy hammond who is accused of being a member of
the hacker group anonymous. he has been charged with hacking into the computers of the private intelligence firm stratfor for and turning over 5 million emails to the whistleblowing website wikileaks. his lawyers had asked federal judge loretta preska to recuse herself because her husband worked for kind of stuff for. hammond's supporters say the stratfor documents shed light on how the private intelligence firm monitors activists and spies for corporate clients. jeremy hammond has been held without bail or trial for more than nine months. last week, julian assange mentioned him in a rare address from the ecuadorean embassy in london where he has sought asylum. >> i have been sustained by your solidarity, and i'm grateful for the efforts of people all around the world supporting the work of wikileaks, supporting freedom of speech, freedom of the press -- essential elements in any
democracy. while my freedom is limited, at least i am still able to communicate this christmas, unlike the 232 journalists who are in jail tonight. unlike a journalist in sweden, unlike jeremy hammond in new york, tonight. unlike nabeel rajat in bahrain tonight. and unlike bradley manning who turned 25 this week. [applause] a young man who has maintained his dignity after spending more than 10% of his life in jail without trial, some of that time in a cage, naked and without his glasses. unlike some many others whose plights are linked to my own. i salute these brave men and women. >> that was wikileaks founder
julian assange speaking at the window of the ecuadorean embassy in london, where he has taken refuge for the past six months. he has sought and gotten political asylum in ecuador, but cannot leave the ecuadorean embassy to get to ecuador because britain threatens to arrest him if he steps foot on british soil. i recently spoke with michael ratner, president emeritus of the center for constitutional rights and asked about the jeremy hammond case here in new york. >> the center for constitutional rights and myself and lawyers for julian assange and wikileaks, wikileaks has two very big sources of documents. one of them are the documents allegedly that bradley manning up loaded, which include the afghan war logs, videos, etc., and that is bradley manning, allegedly. the others are the stratfor documents, the private intelligence company which there are some 5 million documents,
the or uploaded to wikileaks. if we talk about our client, julian assange, two of the alleged sources are jeremy hammond, anonymous, and bradley manning. so we're very concerned. i know wikileaks is concerned its sources in a protected in all the support they get. so as part of that, i've been monitoring and gone to various hearings with jeremy hammond, and i went to the prison and met him. i was at his recent bail hearing in federal court were even though his been in prison for nine months and used to prepare for his upcoming criminal case, alleged hack into the stratfor emails, the judge denied him bail. it was a one-and-a-half hour hearing. there were a number of supporters from all over the country with jeremy hammond -- free jeremy hammond t-shirts on. in my view was a hostile hearing
to jeremy hammond to. there are two criteria and bill, one is are you going to be a flight risk and the second is, are you a danger to the community? the government has the burden of proving you are a flight risk or danger to the community. i have to say the judge had probably decided this case before the arguments went on because she essentially read and opinion after an hour and half into the record denying bail to jeremy hammond. it was really disappointing because you do have a right to bail under our constitution. in regard to his being a danger to the committee, they must think jeremy hammond is guide. he is not allowed to use a computer that is connected to the internet, but not really allowed to use any computer because they somehow think were very limited access to any computer -- the somehow think even though it is not connected to the internet, that this guy so smart he will figure out how to get into documents. >> explain who jeremy is and
what happened them. >> jeremy is a political activist who has been active -- he is 28 years old, but has been a political activist for a number of years. he went after everybody from holocaust denier david irving, the group apparently was involved in hacking into scientology. i don't know if he was involved in that. he did some time in jail for a prior hack a conservative group. and now he has been arrested for being, as you said, allegedly part of the group anonymous. there was an informant an anonymous name to sabu who actually set up this crime for strapped for. the fbi gave him the computer the stratfor documents or uploaded to. pretty clear case of entrapment and tried to get jeremy hammond. they may have even been able to
find it our client, wikileaks, to do something with those documents. >> so the government made the stratfor documents available? >> that is a good way to say it, amy. >> was stratfor aware of this? >> that is a good question. the government knew it some time, and i don't understand this, that there was access to the stratfor emails and 5 million documents. they then gave sabu a computer that they could be uploaded to. the fbi is in on this and somehow allow them to go after wikileaks, allegedly. the government had to be following this -- and was, every step of the way -- and i would hesitate to say it is typical entrapment cases about muslims, but it is that. it seems this is a government- made it -- >> it is as if they let the bomb plot. >> correct. jeremy hammond was considered
one of the genius is involved generally and hacking, but in the anonymous movement, a particular and the stratfor emails. >> where was he picked up? >> they raided his house in chicago and brought him here where the indictment is pending against him, some other people from london, england or ireland, a number of other people, for various anonymous allegations. >> i want to play a clip of julian assange talking about the leaked emails from the private intelligence firm straffortfor. we spoke -- julian assange is in the embassy in ecuador in london where he is been granted political asylum. >> there are some 3000 emails in the stratfor collection about me personally, and many more
thousands about wikileaks. the latest on the grand jury front is that the u.s. department of justice admits, as of about two ago, that the investigation is ongoing, on december 28 this year, the pentagon renewed its formal threats against us in relation to ongoing publishing, but also extremely seriously in relation to ongoing, what they call, solicitation. that is asking sources publicly , send us important material and we will publish it. they say that itself is a crime. this is not simply a case about we received some information back in 2010 and have been publishing it, and they say that
was the crime. the pentagon is maintaining a line that wikileaks inherently as an institution held military and government whistleblowers to come forward with this information as a crime. >> talk more, michael ratner, about the emails of stratford. >> as you have covered on the show before, they had a lot of important information about surveillance of everybody from peta to the yesmen, to u.s. government agencies. it puts out a regular intelligence newsletter. it does not work for private clients by major corporations, etc.. one of the things that came out and the stratfor emails are listed people who apparently are subscribers to the newsletter, and there are thousands of those
emails, subscribers. there is an interesting occurrence. the judge who is trying the case so far, the jeremy hammond case in federal district court here in new york -- >> her name? >> loretta preska. she denied bail to jeremy hammond, and what i consider to be a very hostile opinion. and really had a lot of errors in it that i think should be remedied. but what came out since that time, only a week ago, and came as an e-mail from somebody on the internet, what came out is that her husband who is a lawyer named thomas cavalier, i think, that his email was part of the stratfor releases. you're going to the stratfor documents and you see a number, you see the email for this lawyer at a big law firm in new
york, whenever it is called, and that is the husband of judge loretta preska. even worse, from what i understand they put up a password that you could get into this lawyers email accounts and see what his emails were. look at the situation, you have the judge, her husband has herhacked. her husband's email is accessible. she is sitting on the case of the very person who they allege hacked into that e-mail account. the rules seem to be very clear in federal court. if there is any appearance of impropriety, appearance of closeness to the case, that basically, you have to recuse herself from being a judge in the case. you have to do it automatically, even if the defendant does not make a motion. think about it. your spouse's email is packed.
>> you are pretty angry. >> an even the appearance of injustice or impropriety really is enough, it was seem to me, and that is what is allowed. it is not just the actual conflict, but the appearance. i think the judge should be off this case. >> and not only his emails that can be read, but presumably their right to each other so the judge herself is exposed. >> and we don't know that, someone said it may not be his -- maybe it is his business account and she is not written to him, but the point is, this is her spouse who was hacked by the very guy she is denying bail to. think about what that means to the system of justice. >> you have the jeremy hammond case and you also were in the courtroom when private bradley manning, for the first time after two years imprisonment, a lot of that time in solitary
confinement, testified for the first time about his conditions. we know very little -- most have not even heard about the jeremy hammond case, why the think there is that difference? >> that is a good question. the early stuff was bradley manning and wikileaks. that was two years ago yesterday. we had the anniversary of the cablegate releases. they were huge. they were government documents. jeremy hammond was private security company, summit that was part of it. maybe it came -- because it can later or he was not in the military. right now the government is trying to make an example out of all three of these people. they have jeremy hammond with no bail in federal detention. >> metropolitan detention center. >> which is in manhattan. you have bradley manning finally moved to leavenworth where his conditions are better than they
were at quantico, for sure. but is in prison. you have julian assange annette ecuadorean embassy. what the government is trying to do is destroy the idea of the government's secrets and its corruption and crimes ought to be known and get the whistleblowers and publishers were doing it. we see across the board that these three are the ones they're obviously focused on, putting them away for as long as they can. >> michael ratner is president emeritus of the center for constitutional rights and a lawyer to julian assange and wikileaks. he recently returned from attending part of a pre-trial hearing for bradley manning. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. when we get back, what is happening within freedomworks and dick armey? what was that $8 million payout? stay with us. ♪ [music break]
>> marva whitney that it the age of 68. this is "democracy now!," democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> we turn to a deepening rift within the conservative political movement. new details have emerged in the internal turmoil and the key tea party group freedomworks. the washington post reports the group's chairman and former house majority leader, dick armey, attempted to seize power in a to-like maneuver earlier this year before receiving a multimillion-dollar payout to leave. he entered the freedomworks offices in september with an armed aide who escorted two top employees off the premises while armey suspended several others. just days later, dick armey left the group after an illinois millionaire pledged $8 million over 20 years in exchange for his departure. speaking on fox business news, dick armey commented on his decision to leave freedomworks.
he denounced house speaker john boehner's decision to kick four tea party-backed congressman out of key committee assignments. >> i'm out there because i had serious concerns about the ethical and moral behavior of the senior leadership. i don't particularly want to discuss that at length. i think it will be resolved. i am consoled by my certain knowledge that time wounds all heal. it has nothing to do with john boehner's misguided steps that he could discipline his colleagues in this conference, all of whom were elected as republicans on the republican ticket, or the notion that people have been dreaming about since 2009 that the tea party will dry up and blow away. these tea party activists are people with long standing commitment to ideals and note their activism matters. they will be there and the next
election cycle. >> that was former house majority leader dick armey. freedomworks has been pivotal force behind the victories of tea party candidates are recent years. the money for dick armey's exit came from illinois billionaire richard stephenson, founder of the for-profit cancer trim centers of america. he was reportedly behind more than $20 in donations funneled to the freedomworks super pac in the weeks before the 2012 election. for more we're joined by kenneth vogel "democracy now!" videostream. he recently wrote an article, "inside the dick armey, freedomworks split." welcome to "democracy now!" dick armey came down with an armed guard to try to take over his organization? >> is a bizarre story. a lot led up to to get to that point. my understanding is, by reporting suggests there may have been members of
the board of freedomworks who took his side and actually placed these two senior officials on its ministry of leave before this showdown with the armed guard transpired. nonetheless, it just made it that much uglier. it will be interesting to see what happens with freedomworks. while dick armey may have only been a figurehead by the point these tensions boiled over are manifested themselves in this coup, he was a rather powerful figurehead both as a former majority leader of the house who have a lot of connections and the media, and more important, as a fund-raiser. it is interesting this stevenson guy, as far as we can tell and we don't know a ton about the donors for freedomworks, because most of the money is coming in through the 501c4 not
, but he is a major donor, probably one of the biggest. his willingness, to this agreement, essentially to side with matt kibbe and others against dick armey, even though he entered a disagreement that will eventually pay dick armey $8 million over 20 years, is significant because it suggests maybe the leadership of freedomworks will have the backing of some major donors eve, that dick armey's leadership. >> according to some of the coverage, the claims to the source of the rift are very different depending on which side you listen to. from the side of dick armey, his crime that has to do it at the questions about the president of freedomworks, matt kibbe, writing a book review is personally benefiting from using the staff of freedomworks.
but on the side of matt kibbe, he is claiming it has to do more with the fact that dick armey was trying to pull freedomworks more -- to support mainstream republican candidates instead of maintaining its support for more t party-oriented republican candidates. what is your sense of these claims and counterclaims? >> i don't think there mutually exclusive, necessarily. certainly, there is more personality tension there that involves both who was in charge -- a power struggle. dick armey, from his perspective, these two senior officials, matt kibbe and that brand, or trying to wrest control of him and were doing so in a way, from the perspective of dick armey, could get down to the violation of the 501 c 4, 5 01 c 3 tax status, that is where
there can be no personal benefits accrued by any member of the leadership or interactive party. dick armey thought they were kind of hogging the limelight, quite literally, that they were hiding media requests coming in for him and instead offering up matt kibbe. i can personally attest to that as some who has covered this organization, where i had made media requests to talk to dick armey and instead got matt kibbe. at the time, i did not think anything of a because i thought mattibbe was a very articulate guy, obviously very involved in the leadership of freedomworks and the tea party movement more generally. but you could s why dick armey sort of retroactively might quibble with that. additionally, from the philosophical approach, there's something to that. freedom works another tea party groups got criticism for going in behind candidates, anti-
establishment candidates and republican primaries to the establishment being less of viable as a general election candidates, talking now about richard murdock, the candidate who beat in the senate primary, sharon angle, at the candidate who defeated a couple of establishment candidates in nevada. and both of those campaigns in it p losing to democrats, in many ways, were considered rather vulnerable from the oddsmakers perspective heading into the election but there were established at republicans who pointed a finger and blamed the tea party and groups like freedomworks for hindering their potential senate came and cutting short both in 2010 and 2012. whether dick armey --
>> let's turn to -- >> and would undercut matt kibbe and adam brennan and other key party leaders. >> let's turn to dick armey and cbs insisting the tea party was not holding back republican leaders from agreeing to a budget deal of additional revenues to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. >> thought it all. first of all, understand the tea party is found a political party. it is a group of people across the country that have a commitment to a set of principles. they believe economic growth is the first, most important need of this country, which means get the government to stand down, put obstructing growth. in so many ways, not of least was the epa. >> that was dick armey. kenneth vogel, talk about what
is happening with the fiscal cliff right now in the major divisions within the republican party. you follow the conservative movement within the republican party. >> i think that is the story of the fiscal cliff stalemate, much as it was last year with the stalemate over increasing the debt ceiling. it is, in fact, these tea party members who are elected first in the conservative wave of 2010 when republicans took back the house, and subsequently, there were some additions to the sort of tea party caucuses in both the house and senate in 2012, but many fewer. in fact, many tea party members lost their re-election bid in 2012. it is hard to generalize, but you could look at a number of them and say that this sort of souring of public opinion on the tea party as a result of their perceived unwillingness to compromise in 2011 over the debt
ceiling negotiations probably was held against them, probably heard not only them in their reelection bid, but also republicans more broadly and republican brand, because they are perceived to be the party of in transient as a result of this increasingly small minority within the house republican conference that is made up of self identifying two-party roads who rode the wave in 2010 into office. in some ways, they're carrying out their mandate. this is what they said in the campaign, that there were not on a compromise on the fiscal issues. they are not doing it. it is had a rather gridlock- inducing effect on the government and a damaging effect on perceptions of both the tea party and the republican party. >> and your sense of where dick armey goes with is a million- dollar question that he has to
leave freedomworks? >> he perceives this as his retirement. when i spoke to him, that is the way he framed it. he did take a hit when he decided to go sort of all in with freedomworks and refashioned himself as the tea party leader, which struck a lot of folks within the tea party as on. there is always been this tug of war, if you will come in the tea party between national leaders, national groups, deep pocketing contributors and benefactors like freedomworks, like dick armey and the cancer center ceo and the actual grass roots. i think it is an oversimplification to say the tea party is just the sort of astroturf, corporate funded- interest group or extension of the republican party, even. clearly, there is that element, but there is also this broad swath of 2010, this broad swath